18 Fun Things to do on Ocracoke Island (OBX at its best)

For a small island that’s only 16-miles long you will find there are plenty of cool things to do on Ocracoke Island, but with that slow living pace you are craving! 

Aerial view of an island and marina with boats
Ocracoke Island

We want you to slip into that blissful ease before you arrive, so we’re saving you the hassle of wandering and researching what to do on Ocracoke with this easy-to-follow guide on everything you need to know before you visit this island in the Outer banks.

You can trust us. It’s our lifelong passion and JOB to create epic travel days out.

With us, you can be sure we’re planning for outdoor adventure, natural beauty, a bit of serenity, and local food and drink experiences.

Mom and daughter having lunch on a waterfront
Lunch on the water at SmacNally’s

Huge corporations and big-name chains rarely make their way into our itineraries. And you don’t have to worry about that on Ocracoke Island. No Starbucks. No McDonalds. Only NC LOCAL!

We visited this destination for four days (hosted by Visit Ocracoke), but many of these things to do in Ocracoke can be done with less or more time. 

Man tasting beers
Tasting good beers at 1718 Brewing Co.

Before you go, I recommend you book your main tours and attractions on Ocracoke in advance. Plan for one big attraction each day – but if time is shorter, you may need to do two. Then plan the other smaller activities around that, depending on time.

Allow for flexibility as you may just want to linger longer in the store talking to a local, or over your lunch in the sun! 

Where is Ocracoke Island?

map of ocracoke island location in outer banks

Ocracoke Island is one of the southernmost islands in the Outer Banks, a 200-mile chain of barrier islands extending along the coast of North Carolina.

It’s only 16-miles long and only a few miles wide and is part of the protected Cape Hatteras National Seashore. That means you’ll find yourself immersed in some of the most stunning and pristine coastlines in the United States.

A little history of Ocracoke

Aerial view of an island and harbor
Ocracoke Village

The Woccocon Native American tribe originally inhabited the island before the arrival of the European settlers. It soon became the ideal haven for pirates, who could easily hide their boats on the sound, and see those approaching. 

Because of its remote location, it has quite a significant war history. But now, it’s one of North Carolina’s favorite, yet still undiscovered, tourist destinations. As it takes a little more effort to get to Ocracoke, the crowds won’t be as maddening as other Outer Banks barrier islands. (But they’re still there!)

Home by a canal
Home by the canals

There are only just under 1,000 residents of Ocracoke, which can quadruple during the season! And if you’re wondering why you’d want to visit, in this post you can read our many reasons to love Ocracoke Island. 

How to get to Ocracoke Island

ocracoke island nc 6 2
The large Ferry from Swan Quarter arriving in Ocracoke

Firstly, it’s important to note you cannot drive to Ocracoke Island, you can only get there by car ferry. That’s part of the beauty of this remote Outer Banks Island.

Half the fun is getting there and due to the extra “hassle,” you won’t find an overwhelming number of people like you might on other NC barrier islands. 

View from a car ferry of an island
View of Ocracoke from our Swan Quarter ferry

There are three ferry options you can take:

  1. The Swan Quarter Ferry to Ocracoke: You can reserve these tickets in advance, which cost $15. It’s quite a large ferry and there’s a good sitting space upstairs. It takes 2 hours and 40 minutes. Ferries run three times a day. 
  2. The Cedar Island Ferry to Ocracoke. The only one we didn’t experience. The ferry is smaller than the Swan Quarter one. Again, be sure to book in advance and it costs $15. Ferries run three times a day.
  3. The Hatteras Ferry to Ocracoke. This was the longest drive time from Raleigh, BUT the shortest ferry time, so if the timing works out, it could be the best option. HOWEVER, it is first come-first serve – no reservations allowed, and you have to get your ticket at the ferry terminal. So, you may have to wait as the ferry is small – I’ve heard of three hours’ wait or more. Get there as early as you can. Ferries run every hour and are FREE!

Decide which one is best for you based on where you come from and when and how much driving time you want versus time on the ferry. It’s great to have all these options. 

Check into your Accommodation

Aerial view of a vacation home
Our vacation home via Blue Heron Realty

Hopefully, you have booked accommodation in advance as there might not be anything available when you arrive, especially in peak season. 

Ocracoke has a small number of boutique hotels, but a large number of vacation rentals. There are also small RV parks in the village and a larger campground by the beach in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

We stayed as guests at Mr. Billy’s Cottage managed by Blue Heron Realty. It was located on the edge of the village within walking/biking distance to most places. We loved the large block of land it was on with live oaks and rising sun as our only views- and neighbors in faraway places. 

Vacation home on an island
Mr Billy’s Cottage

It was spacious with a separate bedroom for all of us – important for our teens – with a fully stocked kitchen (although no dishwasher) and a beautiful screened-in porch area and a front deck with a swing. Watch our video.

You can use the map below to find more accommodation on Ocracoke. I have my eye on The Castle B & B for our next stay listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Getting Around Ocracoke

Woman paddle boarding in Ocracoke

Ocracoke is a small island so you don’t really need to use your car a lot. You can drive, but parking can be hard to come by and it can cause a headache on your trip. Instead, you may prefer to…

Hop on your Bike

people on bikes by ocracoke marina posing to camera
Biking Ocracoke was a blast!

Park your car and cover it with palm fronds. One of the best ways to get around Ocracoke Island is by bike.

I am addicted to destinations where you can park your car for its duration and get around on bikes, or by foot. I find it liberating and relaxing. Even better if the land is flat – you’re on a barrier Island, so the land is flat. Enjoy that pedal power!

Two girls riding bikes
The Slushy Stand was a popular bike stop

Everything is within pedaling distance. We even cycled for 20-minutes on the paved bike lane on Highway 20 to do a short hike at Hammock Hill, not much further than the pony pens.

Lifeguarded Beach (regarded as one of the best beaches on Ocracoke) is only 10-minutes away by bike. 

OR, Jump In a Golf Cart

Two girls sitting on back of a golf cart
Golf carts are popular on Ocracoke

Some like them, some hate them. You decide. I much preferred the bikes, but the golf cart was a fun option for our kids if we needed to move faster, or at nighttime. 

The girls loved cruising around on the back of the golf cart and couldn’t wait until they could drive them. You can rent them on the day or week. Just note, that you can’t take your golf carts beyond Howard’s Pub in Ocracoke Village!

Girl riding a bike on a street with a golf cart
Golf cart or bike? Choice is yours!

We only had to use our car when it rained! The village is small and can get busy with traffic, especially during ferry times. So be careful and watch out for bikers, skaters, and walkers! 

Now you’re ready to plan out your days with this list of things to do on Ocracoke Island. 

Things to do on Ocracoke Island (beach side)

Let’s start with the Atlantic side of Ocracoke, where you’ll find those pristine beaches and absolute serenity. 

1. 4WD on Ocracoke Beach to South Point

ocracoke beach 12
4WD beach driving on Ocracoke Island

One of the fun things to do in Ocracoke Island is go 4×4 on the beach, and as you guessed, South Point is on the very southern tip of Ocracoke Island and Ocracoke Beach. You can only access it via 4WD. Beach driving fun ahead! 

Don’t worry if you don’t have your own 4WD, we didn’t. Enter Ray Stallings who offers 4WD tours to South Point as well as beach and ferry shuttles. 

Two men standing in the ocean chatting
Craig with our 4WD tour guide Ray Stallings

This tour with Ray was one of our favorite things to do on Ocracoke Island. Not only did we get to experience the beauty of this Cape Hatteras National Seashore shoreline, but Ray also told us so many stories, facts, and folklore about this protected area and island from its beginning to recent Hurricane Dorian history. 

He really helped bring to life Ocracoke and the people who have made up its history and unique story.

I’ve never quite experienced a beach like Ocracoke South Point before. The beach was so wide it was like driving across the desert.

ocracoke beach 1
Plenty of space

There are plenty of spaces to park and swim, take a walk, have a picnic, or do some surf fishing. There are no lifeguards here, but you will find plenty of space and serenity.

Driving on this part of the beach can be restricted at various times during the year due to nesting birds and turtles so follow all the national park services guidelines! Most of Ocracoke Island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which means it’s publicly owned and administered by the National Park Service. 

People beach fishing standing next to their cars
Beach fishing is popular

This means the outstanding natural beauty and wildlife are protected and will forever be wild and pristine. It’s yours to enjoy with honor and reverence. 

Phone or text Ray Stallings: 252-908-2994 for a beach driving tour or beach and ferry shuttle services. 

2. Play at Lifeguarded Beach

People sitting and walking along a beach.
Lifeguarded Beach, Ocracoke

Want a lifeguard AND to swim at America’s Best Beach, as ranked by Dr Beach in 2022? It took top position mostly due to the three most important criteria: clean sand, clean water, and beach safety. The entire stretch of Ocracoke Beach is pristine and beautiful like this, it’s just that the Lifeguarded Beach section of it has amenities and lifeguards.

So spread out if this is not important to you. We also liked the Pony Pen Beach section, which has an ADA-accessible ramp!

Man and woman sitting on beach chairs next to an umbrella on a beach on Ocracoke Island
Beach life on Ocracoke

Enjoy beach life – however that looks for you. You may even have a wave or two to ride. There were small ones when we visited. Fall is meant to be when they’re bigger. 

If you want the best shade for the beach, we absolutely love and recommend our Sun Ninja

3. See the Wild Ponies at the Pony Pen

Pony hiding behind a bush

These are not wild horses and ponies, but untamed. They are now fenced in (with a decent amount of space) for protection. There is too much traffic now to keep horses and humans adequately safe. 

These ponies are descendants of shipwrecked horses back in the 1600s. In case you didn’t know there are over 2,000 shipwrecks just off the shores of the Outer Bank Islands. There’s a reason the pirates loved this area!

You can now see the ponies in their enclosures – if you are lucky. We saw them eating behind the bushes. There is a small boardwalk trail leading you away from the main section so check there too. 

The best time to see them is during feeding time (NPS feeds them hay) between 3 and 4pm. Unfortunately, we went at this time but didn’t get a great look. 

We’ve also seen wild ponies on Shackleford Island near Beaufort North Carolina on the Crystal Coast.

4. Hike at Hammock Hills Nature Trail

Girl walking a forest trail

Don’t worry, that hill on the Hammock Hill Nature Trail will barely raise a sweat or increase your breath. Blink and you’ll miss it!

It’s a pretty 0.75-mile boardwalk trail looping around the sand dune forest filled with live oaks and pine trees. You’ll be quite surprised by the number of pinecones scattered on the forest floor. It’s open year-round and will suit all levels! 

Mom and daughter sitting on a bench looking over grasslands towards a lake
Opens up to this view!

There’s a bench halfway around for you to sit and enjoy the views of the birds swooping over the salt marshes and the Pamlico Sound. There’s not much else to do but appreciate a stretch of your legs in a beautiful environment. Take bug spray! 

The Hammock Hills Nature trail is opposite the Ocracoke Beach campground. 

5. The Secret Kayak / Sunset / Swimming (Sorta Kinda) Beach

Woman overlooking a lake

There is a small dirt road (Devil Shoals Road) to the left of the parking lot for Hammock Hills Nature Trail which will take you down to the sound, should you wish to launch a kayak. It’s also a great spot if you wish to sit surrounded by the reeds to just listen to nature.

Insider tip from Ray. This water is shallow here for a long way out (so great for kids and swimming) There is no beach to sit on, but as Ray says, bring your chair and plonk it in the shallow water. Perfect spot for watching the sunset!

6. Beach fire pits and starry skies

We were too early in the season to take advantage of this fun Ocracoke activity – beach fire pits and s’mores. But we heard about it and have it on our list for our next visit. 

Light your own (be sure to get permits) or Ocracoke Beach Fires can set up one on Lifeguard Beach just before sunset. They provide the National Park Service Permit, chairs, extra firewood, and a trash bin. They’ll also cover it over and pack it up.

But don’t hurry home. Stay to see the magic of the Milky Way here on a clear night. 

Things to do in Ocracoke (Village Side)

Aerial photo of sailing boats in a harbor
Ocracoke Village

Now that we’ve done with all the things to do on Ocracoke Beach side of the island, let’s look at the different things to do in Ocracoke Village, which is the elbow-shaped part of the island on Silver Lake and the Pamlico Sound. 

7. Hike to Springer’s Point Nature Preserve – Blackbeard’s Hideout

Mom taking photo of her two daughters on a beach
Springers Point

Time to stretch those legs. Don’t worry, it’s a flat, short, and easy ½ mile stroll on a sandy trail through the maritime forest passing under several huge live oak trees making it one of the popular things to do on Ocracoke Island.

You’ll pass a small cemetery along the way, which is rumored to be the place where Blackbeard formerly had a home. 

Mom daughters walking through a forest
Hiking trail at Springer’s Point

Springer’s Point on Ocracoke was Blackbeard’s favorite anchorage, where he held the biggest pirate party known, and where he eventually met his end just offshore in the waters of Pamlico Sound now known as Teach’s Hole. (We had previously learned a lot about Blackbeard on a visit to Manteo and Beaufort, NC).

8. Paddle Out To The Salt Marsh Creeks

Mom and daughter kayaking in a river

Rent a kayak or paddleboard (or both) from Ride the Wind Surf Shop and go for a paddle on the quieter side of the island – the Pamlico Sound. 

Allow for about two hours as you paddle past life on Silver Lake, out the harbor entry, and around the corner to the marsh-lined estuaries of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, passing by Springer’s Point on the way. 

Mom and daughter kayaking
Silver Lake with Ocracoke Village in background

Wildlife lovers will love birdwatching and spotting marine life in the shallow waters. You may even get lucky and see dolphins. 

Ride the Wind also offers kayak eco-tours out to the salt marshes, surfing lessons, and paddleboard yoga. 

9. Paddle Board on Silver Harbor

Paddle boarder in a harbor waterfront
Loved paddle boarding on Silver Lake

Don’t worry if you’re not up to paddling for two hours out to the creeks. You can paddle in Silver Harbor. It’s small, and calm and will give you that taste of Zen on the water. 

After our kayak, Craig and I paddled about in the harbor for about 30-minutes. It was a lovely perspective of the marina area and lighthouse. My arms were pretty sore after all that paddling though! But, when on vacation you need to balance out those evening sunset cocktails! 

Woman doing stand-up paddle boarding on a lake
Top spot for a paddle

This was one of our favorite things to do in Ocracoke, and while we did not see dolphins in the harbor, but we saw about four of them in the harbor the day before within the first five minutes of our sailing cruise with Captain Rob. Speaking of which…

10. Go Sailing On A Traditional Schooner

Sailboat at sunset
Sunset sail

Captain Rob is waiting to take you out on a 90-minute sailing adventure out onto the Pamlico Sound and the waters of Teach’s Hole where Blackbeard lost his head. 

His traditional schooner, the Windfall II is a fore-and-aft rigged (as opposed to square-rigged) sailing vessel with (at least) two masts, the taller of which is abaft (behind) the shorter one. He much prefers sailing a schooner to the high-tech modern sailboats.

Sailboat sails and an ocean background
Sailing on Windfall II

You can sit back and relax as Captain Rob has been sailing for decades. He told us many stories on our sail, not just the history and stories of Portsmouth Island and Blackbeard, but also about his life and adventures as a sailor coming in and out of his Ocracoke Island home, where he first came as a young boy on vacation catching the old mailboat in. 

Two men on a sailing boat
Sailing with Captain Rob

He is a trusted local authority on Blackbeard and was featured in the two-hour History Channel documentary True Caribbean Pirates​.

On your sail back in and once we had those challenging winds behind us, Rob let our kids get behind the steering wheel and bring her home!

Young girl sailing a sail boat
Savannah playing captain!

You can bring your own alcohol onto the boat for sunset sips! Rob sails most days during the summer season – most popular at sunset – and is available for private charters.

11. Watch Sunrise And Sunset

Sunset over a harbor with a ferry
Sunset over Silver Lake in Ocracoke

Part of the magic of an Outer Banks vacation is you get to experience sunrise and sunset over the water.

The sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean on the beach side and sets over the Pamlico Sound. You’ll get beautiful colors in the sky at each location at the opposite time of the day too!

On the beach, it’s easy, just go sit on the shore. But, on the sound side, you’ll be navigating around homes and harbors to find the best spot. 

Sunset of a harbor with a bird watching on
The waterfront near the ferry terminal is a top spot

Sunset is meant to be best at Springer’s Point, the aforementioned Devil’s Shoal Road, and the parking lot right at the end of the village in front of the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum and near the ferry port. 

It’s also pretty good from SmacNally’s deck (although a large ferry can get in the way or act as interesting foreground depending on how you think), and the upper deck of the 1718 Brewery and Howard’s Pub. 

12. Visit Ocracoke Lighthouse

Lady looking up at a white Lighthouse
Ocracoke Lighthouse

An easy bike ride from Ocracoke village – make it a pit stop on the way to Springer’s Point – is Ocracoke Lighthouse, the second oldest operating lighthouse in the USA.

 There’s not much to do here, just a short boardwalk trail leading to the small 75 ft tall white brick lighthouse; it’s closed for climbing. I enjoyed paddling on Silver Lake Harbor with the view of the lighthouse in front of me.

If you like climbing lighthouses, the Oak Island lighthouse in the Brunswick Islands is a fun one (and a little scary)!

13. Visit Portsmouth Island

We are saving this Ocracoke adventure for our next visit. But you can head across the Ocracoke Inlet from Springer’s Point to explore Portsmouth Island, which used to be the biggest port until ships found an easier passage to navigate up near Nags Head. 

The last few people left the island in the seventies, and it has since become a ghost town. You can jump on a transfer boat to explore the island’s beaches and the abandoned village.

Be warned, we heard many stories of how bad the mosquitoes are here, so be sure to cover up and bring repellant. 

14. Zen out with an Ocracoke Island Yoga Class

Group of women doing yoga
Ocracoke Island Yoga class

The yoga quote on the Ocracoke Island website sums up the spirit of an Ocracoke Island vacation,

 “to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.” Rolf Gates

There is no better way to experience it than with a yoga class. I try to do 1-2 yoga classes at home and so was happy that I could fit a practice in on this trip. This is the kind of vacation Ocracoke is – you have enough space to take care of yourself and do what makes you happy.

People doing yoga in a class
Flow to yin yoga class

Our 11-year-old, Savannah joined me for a 60-minute flow to yin yoga class. It was her first-time doing yoga and she loved it.

It was a light-filled, happy energetic space and Yogi Savannah was a fantastic teacher. You won’t regret this hour of time to reconnect with your body, mind, and soul. Different classes are offered during the week to suit all levels. 

15. Visit the British Cemetery

Girl looking at head stones at a cemetery with a British flag flying
British Cemetery

Did you know that German submarines during World War II were just off the shore here in Ocracoke and the Outer Banks? No. That’s okay because, at the time, the US military didn’t want you to know for fear of the panic that could set in. 

Well one was destroyed, and some British soldiers who died helping protect the US borders now lie buried with honor in a British Cemetery in the village. A special ceremony is conducted each May for them. I’ll let Ray from our 4WD tour tell you what happened to the German soldiers! 

16. Enjoy A wine on the deck of Zillie’s Island Pantry

Tree in front of a house turned wine bar
Zillie’s Island Pantry

This was our first stop after checking into our vacation rental, but not out last.

It only took me five seconds of sitting down on the patio with a glass of French chardonnay, a platter of cheese and crackers, a live oak tree spreading its branches in front of me, and locals chattering around us for me to say, “I really like Ocracoke already.

Mom and two daughters sitting on a deck having a drink and bite to eat
On the deck at Zillie’s

Zillie’s is the perfect gathering place after a day exploring the island. This small bottle shop / tap room / wine bar has a good selection of wines, micro-brews, and beers from around the world along with great gourmet snacks, cheeses and fig jams!

It’s from the sommelier at Zillie’s wine bar that I learned what the sign in their store “no pickum the figums‘ ‘ meant. It’s for tourists who don’t understand their boundaries and pick the fruit from the native fig trees growing all over the island.

17. Learn the history of Ocracoke at the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum

Outside of a house museum

The Ocracoke Preservation Society is a small museum housed in a historic two-story home with exhibits that share the fascinating history of Ocracoke. 

You won’t need a lot of time, but it will help connect all the stories you hear about while on the island. There are various exhibits to enjoy including Blackbeard the Pirate to the Aleta mail boat and learning some Ocracoke brogue words (sounds quite similar to Aussie lingo! No wonder I felt at home here).

Girl looking at a drawing of a pirate

18. Shopping in Ocracoke Village

Lady looking at plants outside a store

I was surprised by the number of great stores in Ocracoke. There was no kitsch present, only classy original artwork, jewelry, and clothes on display in the various boutique stores and art galleries.

I love the island’s emerging artistic boho personality. It’s my first time here so I can’t compare it to a time before, but it feels quite different to the rest of the Outer Banks. It’s definitely a grounded, spiritual vibe I align with. 

You can easily cycle between each store in the village either in one go or in between your other Ocracoke activities. It’s also a wonderful thing to do on the island if it rains. 

Sadly, we did not get to all the stores (there’s more than you realize). BUT we’ll be back. Here are a few I loved:

Sea Break

As soon as I saw this cute cottage in the community square, I snuck over while the girls were eating ice cream from the fudge shop next door just for a looksee. Well, it was love at first smell of the owner’s handmade mango beeswax candle as soon as I walked in. 

And then I walked out with one and some beautiful, beaded gem bracelets and a necklace. You’ll also find salt scrubs and body creams – all handmade. 

Annabelle’s Florist and Antiques

annabelles florist 3 1

One of the most interesting things to do on Ocracoke Island for fascinating history and stories is Annabelle’s Florist and Antiques on the Back Road. 

It’s the childhood home of Chester Lynn, local O’Cocker (native person born in Ocracoke in who you will more than likely meet when you visit). In his thick Ocracoke brogue, he told us he finds them because “most people don’t know the treasures they hold” and he’s prepared to do “the hard research to uncover the stories.” 

I loved looking at all the items in his home and listening to Chester tell us about the Blackbeard’s certified pewter plates and a Spanish revolver from the late 1600s sitting in his cabinets. He has antiques for sale and some, like the priceless Blackbeard’s items that are not. 

The Village Craftsmen

Outside of a wooden building

Another legendary store on Ocracoke is the Village Craftsmen, owned by another O’Cocker, Phillip Howard, and managed by his daughter, Anne. 

They have a gorgeous collection of excellent quality American-made handcrafts including pottery, jewelry, wooden kitchen utensils, bells, soaps, and prints. I had to maintain discipline not to buy one of everything. 

Mom and two daughters shopping in a store

You’ll not only love this store, but its location on the charming narrow dirt road canopied by live oaks with a cemetery holding position on the other side. 

Books to Be Red

Girl in a book store

Books to be Red is an 1898 historic home on a large block of land nestled among live oaks and cedar trees. It’s so cute. Equally as wonderful are the products for purchase which range from shelves of books, soaps, jewelry, pottery, and homeware items.

Little Rituals

Entrance to a store

Across the road from the bookstore is Rituals, a lovely new age store where you’ll find crystals, journals, candles, beauty products, and more – Everything you need to perfect your personal rituals. It’s another place that smells beautiful! 

Bella Fiore Gallery

Woman shopping in a store

Bella Fiore was another wonderful gallery and store where I could have maxed out my credit card. You’ll find stunning one-of-a-kind jewelry and pottery pieces made by the owner Sarah Fiore. 

There are so many other things to look at and buy including beautiful bath and body products, candles, and fashion items.

Places to eat on Ocracoke Island

You’ll be surprised by the quality of the food on Ocracoke Island and the wide variety of cuisines from Greek to Thai.

Of course, seafood shines on a barrier island, and on Ocracoke, you’ll find plenty of blackened fish of the day from mahi mahi to tuna and drum. It all depends on what is seasonally running – just ask the locals and watch the fisherman haul them to shore at the marina.

Dajio Restaurant

Large oak tree out the front of a restaurant
Dajio Restaurant

Our favorite restaurant in Ocracoke was the simple and elegant Dajio Restaurant. Their southern fusion menu has made-from-scratch menu items showcasing fresh local seafood and quality ingredients. 

Dishes include burgers, po’boys, tacos, seafood platters, salads, and fish of the day. My Low Country Purloo was a delicious take on jambalaya, and Craig enjoyed his grilled flank steak with tamari ginger cream sauce. 

There is an outside bar, covered deck, and lower patio which often has live music during the summer. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.

Daijio is considered to be a little fancier Ocracoke, but you can still turn up in your casual wear and not be looked at funny. It’s the Ocracoke Way. I found the prices to be reasonable for fancy as well, and they had dishes to suit all budgets. 

1718 Brewing & Plum Pointe Kitchen

Man holding a flight of 5 beers
Craig enjoyed his flight of beers at 1718 Brewery

Beer lovers will be stoked with the local brews on offer at the 1718 Brewing on their outside deck with sunset views.

I was thrilled with their Wild Pony White which was a dry Chardonnay and Pinot Gris-based blend from Sanctuary Vineyards up on the Northern Outer Banks. And going here was one of Craig’s favorite things to do on Ocracoke Island – he enjoyed his flight of beers!

They also have the Plum Pointe kitchen onsite that serves up dishes such as smoked wings, fish of the day, tacos (their fish and blackened shrimp tacos were delicious), and their crab-stuffed pretzels are meant to be a hit!

In keeping with the island’s pirate vibes, 1718 is named after the year Blackbeard died. 

Ocracoke Oyster Company

People sitting at a bar

Ocracoke Island is part of the North Carolina oyster trail – bucket list time check! We enjoyed some delicious oysters from Cedar Island at Ocracoke Oyster Company. 

Ocracoke Oyster Company is also known for its fig pork and smoked ribs, and fresh seafood dishes. 

The restaurant is a small wooden shack with a cool vibe. But come early as it can get busy. They do have live music during the season and plenty of drinks to go with it. 

Eduardo’s Taco Stand

People sitting at a table under an umbrella at a Mexican restaurant

Any Californian or Texan visiting Ocracoke will be delighted to know they can get delicious breakfast burritos from the colorful Eduardo’s Taco Stand food truck. It was highly recommended to us by many in our community! 

For 13 years now, Eduardo has been serving delicious Mexican meals his mother taught him to make.

You’ll find all kinds of burritos, tacos and bowls for breakfast and lunch. Craig ordered a chilakiller burrito every morning, I had the bowl version, and the girls loved their Mexican hotcakes – big enough to share!

Helios’s Hideaway

helios ocracoke

If you crave Mediterranean food while on Ocracoke, including delicious pizzas Helios Hideaway is for you.

Their delicious tyrokafteri dip (spicy cheese) and lamb Greek salad was perfect after a morning of kayaking and paddling. TIP: add a local touch by getting the fig balsamic dressing. 

They also have pitas, loaded focaccia, kebabs, and pita wraps. Breakfast here is also meant to be great. 

SmacNally’s Waterfront Bar & Grille

Restaurant on the water

A favorite restaurant on Ocracoke is SmacNally’s and its waterfront location. It’s all open-air seating on the marina with a small bar and tables under a shade cloth.

It can get really busy on a sunny day so arrive early for lunch. You’ll find all manner of seafood dishes, burgers, and salads. 

It’s a great spot for a relaxing drink at sunset. They don’t sell liquor, but they do have huge cups of different flavored mimosas. I could not go past the passionfruit mimosa.

Howards Pub

howards pub ocracoke

Howards Pub holds legendary status especially when it was more of a beer pub that served food. Now it’s more of a restaurant that serves beer. 

It has the largest dining area of any of the restaurants we ate at on Ocracoke and a large menu of seafood dishes and burgers. Their steamed shrimp here was delicious!

Ocracoke Ice Cream 

We can’t not mention the ice cream on Ocracoke. Our girls were happy with their daily ice cream treats.

The Slushy Stand has a lovely patio and outdoor sitting area to enjoy your ice cream, slushies, or coffee. They also have bagels and muffins for breakfast. 

The Ocracoke Fudge and Ice Cream Shop in community square has ice cream, hot fudge sundaes, and espresso shots!

Ocracoke Coffee Co

Mom and daughter sitting at a table on grass at a coffee shop
Morning coffee at Ocracoke Coffee Company

While the coffee did not meet our Australian coffee snob high standards, it wasn’t too bad and none took an early exit to the trash, which does happen way too frequently on our travels in the USA

But ignore us and follow the extremely long lines at this morning bakery and coffee stop. What I loved about it was the gorgeous outside seating area with a grass and patio area, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs under shady trees. 

Park your bike and sit for a while with a coffee and a pastry. They have croissants, bagels, muffins, scones, cinna-yum-buns, donuts, and smoothies.

Ocracoke Island Map

We’ve plotted all the Ocracoke attractions, things to do, places to stay, and where to eat on this Ocracoke Island Map. Creating these maps is always one of the first things I do when I travel! Why wouldn’t I share it with you?

To use the map, Click the top right button to open it in a full page. From there, click the top left drop down to make a copy of the map. Then you can adjust it as needed for your personal use. Or click the star next to the map, to add it to your Google Maps account. You’ll then find it under Your Places on the menu tab in google maps.

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